Wednesday, 21 September 2011

NZ Food Bill 160-2

If you live in Aotearoa and enjoy buying food at your local Farmers' Market or have a favourite roadside stall you like to frequent or if you like to swap seeds with friends at your local community garden, or, in fact if you are at all interested in the food you eat then you need to check out NZ Food Bill 160-2. 
Be prepared to be enraged. 
Below is taken from the Nexus website
What are the problems with the Food Bill?

- It turns a human right (to grow food and share it) into a government-authorised privilege that can be revoked by the Governor-General.

- It makes it illegal to distribute "food" without authorisation, and it defines "food" in such a way that it includes nutrients, seeds, natural medicines, essential minerals and drinks (including water).
- It will push up mainstream food prices by subjecting producers to red tape and registration costs. Food prices are already rising due to increased energy costs and commodity speculation, while effective disposable incomes are falling.
- Growing food for distribution must be authorised, even for "cottage industries", and such authorisation can be denied.

- Under the Food Bill, Food Safety Officers can enter premises without a warrant using all equipment they deem necessary, including guns (Clause 265 - 1). Police can be Food Safety Officers, and so can members of the private sector, as at Clause 243. So Monsanto employees can raid premises like houses or marae without a warrant, backed up by armed police.
- The Government has created this bill to keep in line with its World Trade Organisation obligations under an international scheme called Codex Alimentarius ("Food Book"). So it has to pass this bill in one form or another.
- There are problems with Codex also. Codex will place severe restrictions on the content of vitamins, minerals and therapeutic compounds in food, drinks and supplements etc. The Food Bill means that non-complying producers can be shut down easily - thus it paves the way for the legal enforcement of Codex food regulations.

What are the implications for Food Security in NZ?
- The bill would undermine the efforts of many people to become more self-sufficient within their local communities.
- Seed banks and seed-sharing networks could be shut down if they could not obtain authorisation. Loss of seed variety would make it more difficult to grow one's own food.
- Home-grown food and some or all seed could not be bartered on a scale or frequency necessary to feed people in communities where commercially available food has become unaffordable or unavailable (for example due to economic collapse).
- Restrictions on the trade of food and seed would quickly lead to the permanent loss of heirloom strains, as well as a general lowering of plant diversity in agriculture.
- Organic producers of heirloom foods could lose market share to big-money agribusiness outfits, leading to an increase in the consumption of nutrient-poor and GE foods.

If you want more, check it out herehere and here
Join with the world's poor who are also fighting similar laws in their own countries.
Sign the petition, write to your MP and generally make a racket.

Posted by Jacinda Gilligan, also at

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